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2015 CANTON COMMUNICATION CENTER

ANNUAL REPORT

 

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About the Canton 911 Communication Center:

The Canton Communications Center is now functioning as an independent department within the City of Canton supporting the communication needs of most every agency in the City.  Foremost among these services is the 800 MHz radio communications our dispatchers (TCs) coordinate on a 24/7/365 basis.  It's important to note that not only do we provide the Police and Fire Departments with their radio communications needs; we also support the Street, Water, and Sewer departments among other agencies in the City.  The emergency Police and Fire services can be divided into "911" emergency calls, non-emergency calls, and operational maintenance communications necessary for the smooth operations of critical safety services.  

 

 

 

Communication Center Operational Staffing and Responsibilities:

The communication center is staffed with one civilian Director, one administrative assistant, 16 full-time and 1 part-time Telecommunicators or "TC".  Two of these full time employees and the lone part-time employee are new to us this past year.  One of the largest struggles we have is maintaining qualified, trained personnel capable of dealing with the uniquely challenging tasks a TC is called upon to perform on a daily basis.  I am proud to say that our current staff of TCs does a great job considering the complex nature of the tasks they perform.  

 

Many citizens have a reasonable idea of what their local 911 communication center does on a day by day basis.  Your Canton City 911 Communication Center dispatches police, fire and emergency medical assistance as well as other non-emergency communication needs.  Living in the age of 21st century communications gives us all an insight into emergency service operations like never before.  Even so, the work of our 911 dispatchers cannot be fully appreciated without first hand, up close and personal participation or observation of the system.  I can only imagine that the phrase "You can't make this stuff up" must have originated by an employee somewhere in a dispatch center.  Responsibilities involve taking 911 calls for police, fire and medical emergencies, of course, but the dispatchers' are tasked with much more than that.  Today, communication duties for literally all departments that serve our citizens often pass through CanCom at one point or another.  The Center is the point of contact for questions from other local, state, and federal agencies, as well as the many inquiries from citizens.  With questions like "what time is trick or treat" to "my child is not breathing...what should I do", our TCs bear a heavy burden of responsibility.  This, in part, can explain why it is so difficult to find and train a successful dispatcher.

 

Today, the Canton 911 dispatcher is not just responsible for those things that happen in Canton proper, but also Louisville and East Canton as well.  It also needs to be understood that a dispatcher is not just a dispatcher in the purest sense of the word.  They are an integral member of the response team whose responsibility to an emergency isn't complete until the responding agency is able to complete the call for service (CFS).  Fire calls or hostage negotiations can require many hours before they are completed.  So too does the work of a dispatcher as they assist the first responders with information and notifications right up until the scene is cleared and everyone goes home.  They experience many of the same emotions and involvement the first responders do and as such, their emotional make-up must be similar. Imagine answering a complaint by a caller whose neighbor's TV is too loud, followed closely by a 911 call from a shooting victim with possible life threatening injuries.  Then imagine the next caller wants to know about the weather as two more 911 lines begin to ring loudly.  At the same time, they cannot forget their obligation to the firemen and officers on the street who may call on the radio at any moment requesting back-up or assistance for a call that is spiraling out of control.  This makes team work among the dispatchers essential.  Being able to know and rely on your co-worker becomes a necessity as much as any team sport you might think of.  And while the job may not require dispatchers to be athletic in the sense of a pro athlete, the end of a busy shift can leave them just as physically and emotionally drained as any major sporting event. 

 

With all these responsibilities comes a multitude of decisions.  Every minute brings with it the need to make many, many decision.  Some of these decisions, when made poorly, can mean the difference between serious harm to someone at worst or disciplinary action toward the employee at the least.  The last responsibility, and perhaps one of the most difficult, is the dispatcher's responsibility to do all of these things in a respectful and professional manner regardless of the attitude of the public or the responders they are serving.  This is one of the reasons we record all telephone calls, emergency or administrative as well as all radio communications incoming or outgoing.  While this is a necessary requirement, it nevertheless adds to the overall stress of the work environment.  All of these things taken together begin to illustrate just why it's a rare individual who is able to work under these conditions and perform at the needed level of competence and professionalism. 

 

 

 

Dispatching by the Numbers - Calls for Service:

2014 was again, a busy time for the Canton 911 Communication Center.  The Fire side dispatchers received and dispatched over 15,150 calls for service (CFS), while the Police side received and dispatched over 84,633 CFS.  However, these numbers alone don't tell the whole story where calls are concerned.  Administrative duties and non-emergency CFS need to be factored in.  For example, the Police side handled approximately 13,000 administrative CFS which resulted in dispatched officers.  Finally, calls for transfer or just requesting information comprise a large part of the Center's duties.  These calls are not tracked and therefore difficult to account for in addition to the 97,000+ dispatched CFS, but you can be sure these would push the actual number of calls into the Center well above 100,000. 

 

 

 

The following numbers illustrate the categories comprising the dispatched CFS handled by the Center in 2013:

 

FIRE CFS:

 

ACCIDENT NO INJURIES

3


ACCIDENT WITH INJURIES

117


ACCIDENT/INJURIES

1


ALTERCATION

430


ASSAULT CASUALTY

3


ASSIST FD OR PARAMEDICS

4


ASSIST POLICE

14


AUTO ACCIDENT/INJURIES/CITY

456


AUTO ACCIDENT/INJURIES/EXPWAY

73


BLEEDING

304


BREATHING/SOB

1413


BURNS

13


BUSINESS ALARM

430


CHILD BIRTH

92


CHOKING

25


DEAD ON ARRIVAL

42


DIABETIC

319


DOG BITE

1


DOMESTIC TROUBLE

1


ELECTROCUTION

2


EXTRICATION

11


F04

1


FRACTURES\FALLS

1179


HEART\CHEST PAIN OVER 40

899


HEART\CHEST PAIN UNDER 40

256


HIT SKIP WITH INJURIES

12


HOME HELP

707


INDUSTRIAL

11


INVESTIGATION

499


LOCK IN

47


LOCK OUT

31


MEDICAL

4485


MENTAL

268


NO INFORMATION

215


NOT BREATHING

31


OBSERVATION

1


ODOR, SMELL OF NATURAL GAS

74


OVERDOSE/DRUGS

259


PERSON THREATENING SUICIDE

2


POISONING

3


PRIVATE ALARM RESIDENCE

202


RAPE

8


REFUSE FIRE

35


SEIZURES

478


SEVERE BLEEDING

25


SHOOTING

43


SHOOTING CASUALTY

2


SPILL,LEAK NO FIRE

39


STABBING OR CUTTING CASUALTY

3


STABBING\CUTTING

41


STROKE

192


STRUCTURE FIRE

229


STRUCTURE FIRE\ENTRAPPED

32


SUICIDE

9


TEST CALL

7


TREE/GRASS FIRE

33


TROUBLE

2


UNAUTHORIZED BURNING

173


UNCONSCIOUS

751


VEHICLE FIRE

68


WIRES DOWN

41





Total

15,150








 

POLICE CFS:




9 1 1 HANG UP

2470

ABANDONED VEHICLE

254

ABDUCTION

23

ACCIDENT NO INJURIES

2314

ACCIDENT WITH INJURIES

535

ADMIN

11836

ALARM

4478

ALCOHOL/DRUG IMPAIRED PERSON

444

ARMED ROBBERY

183

ARMED ROBBERY IN PROGRESS

1

ASSAULT CASUALTY

983

ASSIST CPS OR APS

101

ASSIST FD OR PARAMEDICS

610

ASSIST FIRE DEPT/ARSON

28

AUTO THEFT

607

B & E

565

B & E (RESIDENCE)

1034

B & E IN PROGRESS

359

BAD CHECKS OR FORGERY

362

BANK ALARM

54

BLOCKED DRIVE

177

BOMB THREAT

10

BREAK

3909

BUILDING/VACATION CHECK

363

CHASE

29

CHECK ON THE WELFARE

2307

CHILD CUSTODY DISPUTE

242

CLOTHES OUT

383

CRIMINAL TRESPASS

653

DEAD ON ARRIVAL

134

DESTRUCTION

1583

DISABLED VEHICLE

1512

DISTURBANCE

2049

DISTURBANCE (ROWDIES)

899

DOG BITE

79

DOG RUNNING LOOSE

351

DOMESTIC TROUBLE

2646

DRUG VIOLATION

552

FIGHT

231

FOLL

1

FOLLOW UP

1045

FOLLOWUP

1

GAMBLING VIOLATION

3

HIT SKIP

1099

HIT SKIP WITH INJURIES

77

ILLEGAL PARKING

1191

INDECENT EXPOSURE

76

INJURED ANIMAL

93

JUNK VEHICLE

311

MEDICAL

1

MEET COMPLAINANT

855

MENACING OR HARASSMENT

1431

MISSING PERSON

581

MONEY TRANSFER

356

NOTIFICATION

193

OBSERVATION

1154

OFFICER NEED HELP

1

OFFICER REQUESTS ASSISTANCE

582

OPEN DOOR

420

OTHER

615

OVERTIME PARKING

301

PER3

1

PERIODIC

1

PERIODIC CHECK

1373

PERSON DOWN

131

PERSON THREATENING SUICIDE

796

PERSON WITH A GUN

362

PERSONNEL COMPLAINT REPORT

16

PICK UP WANTED SUBJECT

1360

PROSTITUTION VIOLATION

101

PROWLER

324

RAPE

109

RECOVERED AUTO

247

RECOVERED PROPERTY

696

ROBBERY

208

SEX OFFENSE

157

SHOOTING CASUALTY

54

SHOPLIFTER

720

SHOTS FIRED

493

SHOTS FIRED SHOTSPOTTER

330

STABBING OR CUTTING CASUALTY

53

SUSPICION OF DEMENTIA

569

SUSPICIOUS PERSON

2139

SUSPICIOUS VEHICLE

1328

TELEPHONE HARASSMENT

223

TEST CALL

5

THEFT

3051

TRAFFIC

4

TRAFFIC STOP

6373

TRAFFIC STOPP

1

TRANSPORT

425

TROUBLE

6535

UNRULY JUVENILE

622

WIRES DOWN

89

Total

84,633

 

These figures represent a 2.94% increase in the number of POLICE CFS and a 2.32% increase in FIRE CFS.  If you take a moment to review the types of calls in conjunction with their volume, it might become apparent that ample opportunity exists for error that could result in significant harm.  The fact that the 911 Communications Center in Canton and the 911 communication centers throughout Stark County function with as few problems as they do is a true testament to the dedication of the Telecommunicators and speaks highly of their teamwork with the myriad of safety forces personnel serving our community at large. 

 

 

 

Communication Center Technology:

As mentioned earlier, our community is blessed to have a very sophisticated 800 MHz, trunked radio system by Motorola - the leading manufacturer in public safety radio.  This radio system was made even stronger when we completed our literal merger with the Stark Co. Sheriff's radio back in 2011.  At that time we became a 12 channel, 10 tower, simulcast system designed to serve the communication needs of the entire Stark County area.  Many thanks should be given to Mayor Healy's administration, the Stark County Commissioners, Canton Administrative Fire personnel, and then Sheriff Tim Swanson.   All of these individuals worked very hard to achieve this goal. 

 

The Canton Communication Center (CanCom) has five Motorola Gold Elite Dispatching consoles. Currently, we run our shifts with a minimum of four TCs at any given time.  Each of these TCs have the responsibility to control their console containing up to 23 radio channels and 33 incoming phone lines dedicated to Canton Police Dept, Fire Dept, Sewer Dept, Street Dept, Louisville Police, East Canton Police and Aultman Hospital.  We also completed the replacement of our aging 911 telephone answering equipment in 2011.  We expect this equipment to enable us to more seamlessly shift to "Next Generation" (NG) 911 features.  Among these features are receiving 911 text followed by 911 photographs and video.  Today, this equipment allows us to directly receive land line 911 calls along with updated GPS location data.  When these increased capabilities are made available they will allow more information to arrive at our Center thereby increasing our understanding of the emergency at hand.   This will allow us to more efficiently and effectively utilize existing resources and ultimately lead to the potential not just to save more money, but more importantly, saving more lives.

 

The Canton/Stark County-wide Radio System stands ready to support all Stark County first responder agencies as they migrate into new radio systems.  It is our hope that someday in the not too distant future, all of Stark's first responder agencies, and even some other local public service agencies, will operate within this system. This will provide the citizens of Stark County with a first class, unified communication network designed with their highest level of safety in mind.  At this time Louisville Police, East Canton Police, Plain Twp Fire, Plain Twp Police, Stark County Sheriff, Canton Police, Canton Fire as well as supporting service agencies in both Canton and Stark County utilize this 800 MHz radio system.  Green Twp Fire Department and Perry Twp Police Department are the latest agencies to request and receive permission to come on board and we anticipate their move to the system in the later part of 2015.

 

Additionally, talks are underway to determine the best avenue for Canton to take in regards to our next generation radio system.  Technology often represents a multi-edged sword.  Ever increasing advancements in features bring us greater and greater capabilities along with greater and greater costs.  This pushes our safety forces to consider shared cost systems in place of the traditional single user radio format.

 

 

 

 

Future Direction for the Communication Center:

The community has made considerable progress over the past twelve months in the area of County-Wide Dispatching/Communications.  The most notable example may be the purchase and current development of a "New World" Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) software system.  Just as the City/County radio system offers universal radio service to all Stark County safety forces, so too will the CAD software allow all Stark County safety forces an opportunity to utilize a state of the art, unified dispatching tool.  While the economic aspect of bringing a first class CAD within the reach of many smaller agencies in the County is certainly exciting, so too is the prospect of integrating various user agencies through this software application.  Participating agencies will be able to

 Share their work load status with one another while still maintaining their functional anonymity.  The CAD brings promises of a more efficient communications center to all who step up and use it.  Safety for our first responders will be enhanced through more comprehensive database availability.  These databases will provide a ready source of information needed on the street to improve services to our community members and increase the safety to our officers and firefighter while on call. 

 

 

 

 

Director Dean McKimm

Canton Communication Center

City of Canton

 

 

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